Chelmsford Cathedral

ABER VALLEY MALE VOICE CHOIR,   Chelmsford & District Welsh Society,   2018 Annual Choir Concert

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The 51st annual concert of Chelmsford and District Welsh Society, held at Chelmsford Cathedral on 9 June, was a splendid affair. It was the first visit to Chelmsford of the Aber Valley Male Voice Choir from Caerphilly, Society President Brian Farmer’s childhood home, and graced by the attendance of Cllr. Yvonne Spence, the Mayor of Chelmsford, a fellow Celt but from north of the border. The choir were smart in black evening dress and the national daffodil buttonhole during the first half, and resplendent in black and red waistcoats during the second. They opened with Llanfair, the well loved Welsh hymn, followed with Howard Goodall’s The Lord Is My Shepherd, David John Evans’s In The Beginning and finally Tydi a Roddaist (Thou Gavest), the music to which was composed by Arwel Hughes whilst waiting for a train to arrive. Serin, who began their musical lives as a trio of young schoolgirls and have developed  into an outstanding a cappella trio of young ladies, then took to the stage. Their opening number, a haunting Cwsg Osian, (Sleep Osian) was greeted with long standing thunderous applause. They followed with Shirley Bassy’s Big Spender, then a splendid rendering of a folk song medley  celebrating three welsh birds and concluded with Bet Middler’s The Rose. The first half ended with the choir singing Mozart’s O Isis and Osiris, Puccini’s Nessum Dorma from Turandot, a lovely The Lord’s Prayer by Albert Hay Malotte, and finally Gustav Holst’s grand World in Union (in celebration of the Welsh Rugby’s recent 6 Nations success?)

In her speech of Civic Welcome at the commencement of the second half, the Mayor congratulated the choir and Serin on their performance. The choir opened with Gwahoddiad (The Invitation), with its wonderful crescendo of Amens, followed with Pokarekare Ana, a Maori love song sung by Maori ladies during the great war, then Tell My Father, a song about the death of a slave during the American Civil War, and finally Alwyn Humphreys’s An American Trilogy. Serin began with a compilation of folk songs from their home area, followed by Haleliwia, then a haunting Salm 121 (in Welsh).Their final number, the first they had ever sung together as 13 year old schoolgirls, the Andrews Sisters’ Boogie Wooggie nearly brought the house down! What a performance! The choir’s last four numbers were Bring Him Home from Les Miserables, the Flying Pickets hit Only You,a song from Jekyll and Hyde, This is the Moment (good for weddings, apparently) and finally a nostalgic O Gymru. The well earned enthusiastic applause spread around the Cathedral for several minutes. The talented Musical Director and excellent MD, Geraint Evans, the glorious Serin trio of Caitlin Hudson, Rhianna Davies and Joanne Griffiths, and the wonderful accompanist Auralia Jones were rewarded with gifts of appreciation for a superb concert.The President, Brian Farmer will be very proud of the choir and Serin from his youthful haunts. The concert, which began with God save The Queen, ended with a joyous rendition of Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau. The Society are grateful to the people of Chelmsford and District who attend the annual concerts loyally throughout the years.

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Musical Director and Conductor                                          Aber Valley Male Voice Choir

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    All change for the second half                                                                                              A Capella Trio, Serin                                                                                                                                                             Caitlin Hudson, Rhianna Davies                                                                                                                                                                     and Joanne Griffiths

Chelmsford & District Welsh Society website, report and photos of the concert on Saturday 8th 2018

. All photos Copyright © David Brown

 

Repertoire Review: ‘Tydi a Roddaist’

In the Aber Valley MVC Blog we will take the occasional closer look at some of our favourite songs, here is the first of what we’ll call our “Repertoire Review…”

One of the most popular songs in the Aber Valley MVC’s Welsh-language repertoire is the hymn ‘Tydi a Rhoddaist’, composed by the late Arwel Hughes (1909-1988) in 1938. Ever since, this classic piece of Welsh music has been performed by choirs the length and breadth of Wales. ‘Tydi a Roddaist’ translates as ‘Thou Gavest’ and was originally a poem written by Thomas Rowland Hughes, twice a winner of the Chair at the National Eisteddfod.

The lyrics of ‘Tydi a Roddaist’ are truly arresting to the Welsh ear. They are simple yet stunning – the opening line ‘Tydi, a roddaist liw i’r wawr’ makes perfect use of tender Welsh vowels and the distinctive rolling ‘r’. A literal translation makes this line ‘Thou gavest colour to the dawn’ but this does not do justice to the connotations of God giving light and warmth to a pastel-coloured Cambrian dawn.

The verses of the song manage to convey the beauty and complexity of creation (from a Christian perspective) without resorting to a complex level of language that might alienate everyday audiences. Thomas Rowland Hughes’ words acknowledge not only the visual awe of creation, but also the power of sound. ‘Tydi a luniaist gân i’r nant, A’i su i’r goedwig werdd’ refers to God giving ‘song to the brook’ and instilling a ‘murmur’ into the woodlands.

Beyond Thomas Rowland Hughes’ achievement in penning such wonderful lyricis ,‘Tydi a Roddaist’ is made even more special in how it was arranged by Arwel Hughes. One night, he sat at Shrewsbury train station and completed the work as he waited for his train. As head of music for BBC Wales from 1965 to 1971, Arwel Hughes was hugely influential in bringing traditional Welsh music to wider public attention. His son, Owain Arwel Hughes is today a renowned talent in the world of orchestral music.

Below is a recording of the Aber Valley MVC performing ‘Tydi a Roddaist.’ Whether you are a Welsh speaker or not, we hope that you might be able to follow the lyrics (beneath the video) and get a sense of how both Hugheses wished to convey the concept of Christian creation and stewardship.

Lyrics

Cymraeg/Welsh:

Tydi, a roddaist liw i’r wawr,
A hud i’r machlud mwyn;
Tydi, a luniaist gerdd a sawr,
Y gwanwyn yn y llwyn:
O! cadw ni rhag colli’r hud
Sydd heddiw’n crwydro drwy’r holl fyd.

Tydi, a lunaist gan i’r nant,
A’i su i’r goedwig werdd;
Tydi, a roist i’r awel dant,
Ac i’r ehedydd gerdd:
O! cadw ni rhag dyfod dydd
Na yrr ein calon gan yn rhydd.

Tydi, a glywaist lithriad traed
Ar ffordd Calfaria gynt;
Tydi, a welaist ddafnau gwaed
Y Gwr ar ddieithr hynt:
O! cadw ni rhag dyfod oes
Heb goron ddrain, na chur, na chroes. Amen.

English/Saesneg:

O Thou who gave the dawn its form
And gently set the sun;
O Thou who formed the song and scent
Of sylvan springtime green;
Oh! save us lest the magic goes
That every place in this world knows.

O Thou who gave the brook his song
And murmuring green forest made;
Who gave the breeze its biting tongue
The lark its serenade;
Oh! save us lest we see a day
That cause our heart’s song go away.

O Thou who once heard hesitant steps
On Calvary’s hill of shame;
Who saw the blood in trickling drops
From Man on path so strange;
Oh! save us from our future loss;
No crown of thorns, nor pain, nor cross. Amen.

Sources:

Tydi a roddaist – a translation

S4C – Tydi a Roddaist